WATCH LIVE: Can Mercedes bounce back in FP2 Down Under?

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Heading into this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the majority of F1 experts were tipping Mercedes to be the team to beat and dominate every session. Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner even went as far to say that the team could lap the field twice.

However, the first practice session was a very different story for the German team. After just five minutes of running and half a lap completed, Lewis Hamilton – the championship favorite – came to a stop on the exit of turn ten and was forced to abandon his W05 car. His session ended there and then due to an oil pressure sensor problem, and Mercedes all of a sudden was in a fluster. The team to beat had lost ground.

Instead, it was Fernando Alonso who topped the timesheets ahead of Jenson Button and the two Williams drivers. Although it was only the first session of the race weekend, it was interesting to see how much had changed since Bahrain. Most notably, Red Bull appears to have made a step forward, with Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel both finishing inside the top ten.

FP2 begins at 1:30am ET and is live on NBCSN and Live Extra. CLICK HERE to watch the live stream and see if Mercedes can bounce back from this disappointment and show its true colors in the second practice session.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.